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Pulsatilla (bai tou weng)
What is pulsatilla? What is it used
Pulsatilla is a thick, woody flower found throughout central
and northern Europe. It is known by a variety of other names,
including pasque flower, wind flower and meadow anemone. It
consists of a rather thick stalks which are covered with fine,
silky hairs and dull, dark purple flowers. The entire plant
is used medicinally.
The main active ingredient in pulsatilla is anemonin, a crystalline,
odorless substance that acts as a purgative and depressant.
As an herbal medicine, it is used to treat painful conditions
of the reproductive system and digestive problems, and can
help patients sleep better. Homeopathic practitioners sometimes
use pulsatilla to relieve eye problems, toothaches, earaches
How much pulsatilla should I take?
The amount of pulsatilla to be taken depends on the condition
being treated. For general use, many providers recommend 100-300mg
of dried pulsatilla taken three times daily as part of a tea;
other recommended doses include 2-6 drops of a pulsatilla
extract three times daily or 10-60 drops of a pulsatilla tincture
three times daily.
What forms of pulsatilla are available?
The most common form of pulsatilla is as a dried herb, which
is available at many herbal markets and specialty stores.
It is also available as a tincture, extract or tablet.
What can happen if I take too much
pulsatilla? Are there any interactions I should be aware of?
What precautions should I take?
Since pulsatills is poisonous, great care must be taken when
using it. Anemonin can cause an allergic reaction to the nose,
throat, stomach and skin. Fresh pulsatilla can cause similar
reactions to the eyes and mouth; as a result, only dried pulsatilla
should be used in herbal remedies. Large amounts of the herb
can lead to violent gastroenteritis, convulsions and vomiting
similar to symptoms experienced with aconite poisoning; overdoses
can cause the respiratory system to cease functioning, leading
to a loss of breathing, paralysis and death. Make sure to
consult with a qualified health care professional before taking
pulsatilla or anemonin supplements.
Other Resources :
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More You Know About Nutrition
- Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium,
Vol. 1. Bournemouth, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association,
- Duke JA. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs.
Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1995.
- Fetrow CW, Avila JR. Professional's
Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicines.
Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corporation, 1999, pp. 527-530.
- The Medical Advisor: The Complete Guide
to Alternative & Conventional Treatments. Alexandria,
VA: Time-Life, 1996, p. 998.
- Vickers AJ. Independent replication of
pre-clinical research in homeopathy: a systematic review.
Forsch Komplementarmed Dec 1999;6(6):311-20.